It is considered to be one of the fastest growing sports in the continent, it has the backing of US Open tennis winner Jamie Murray, and is attracting members from all over Ayrshire.

The only indoor padel courts in Scotland have recently opened in Stevenston, and the facility hosts its first British Tour Padel event starting at 12 noon on Sunday which includes Jamie Murray's tennis coach Alan McDonald, and players from Spain, and the Picken twins of Prestwick who reached the final in Ireland recently. Members are joining from all over the region including Largs, Fairlie, West Kilbride, and even as far afield as Glasgow.

The sport of padel is actually over 100 years old, and derives from tennis, and named after the paddle shaped racquet which is used.

A similar format was played on 19th century cruise ships to avoid the ball going out of play into the ocean, and the idea is that the court, with four walls, can be used to return the ball and produces longer rallies.

However, in recent decades, the sport has become highly popular in Spain and South America in Hispanic countries, and the modern version of the game has grown from there.

I have been lucky enough to play the sport outdoors in Lanzarote a few years ago so I was already familiar with the rudimentaries, and of course, the major advantage it has in Scotland is that it has a roof. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and always hoped that the game would come to Scotland, and this year, the new Padel indoor courts opened in Stevenston - the only facility of its kind in the country.

The rules are pretty simple, and for tennis lovers, it is just a case of some gentle re-adjustment.

With an identical scoring system to tennis, the service is underarm, and if the ball bounces twice on the opposing court, you have won the point.

The major difference is that you can utilise the back wall to attack and defend - you can position yourself to return the ball off the back wall which gives you some extra time to get in a good return. As the court is smaller than a tennis court, it means that you are using the wall on a fairly regular basis.

You could argue that it is a combination of squash and tennis.

The other big difference is the racquet - there is nothing quite like it in racquet sports.

The polystyrene padel racquets are slightly larger in size than table tennis racquets, and quite similar to swing ball you would sometimes play in your garden as a youngster, so the dimensions are decidedly different. This takes some time to get used to if you are familiar with tennis, badminton or squash, but after a few rallies, you are flying.

Hitting the ball perfectly also provides a satisfactory 'pop', and the skill is finding the angles, and not necessary power play, as hitting the ball off the other wall without letting it bounce loses you the point. This requires a more defensive strategy at times, keeping the ball in play, and therefore requires some good reflex skills. However, having the seen the game flourish abroad, with all ages playing, I think the sport does have certain advantages over tennis and badminton in that it is arguably an easier sport to grasp, and is fairly simple to get started.

There are only two other Padel clubs in Scotland in Stirling and Edinburgh, which are both outdoor, so it is a rare opportunity to get a head start in a sport which is buzzing on the continent.

David McCulloch, but  who is the chair of Ayrshire Padel tennis, said he became hooked on padel after learning the game in Spain, and has had a dream of bringing the racquet sport to Scotland, and when the opportunity presented itself at Stevenston Industrial Estate, he jumped at it. There are three courts, including the centre court which is sponsored by Adidas.

With local interest fast growing, it is important the the court facility remains self-sustaining, and David ultimately hopes that that the facility could be run by the members of the club itself.

The Ayrshire Padel tennis courts are based in a warehouse in Stevenston Industrial Estate, with good access near to the Three Towns bypass, and they are open every day. Coaching is also available. For more details, go to or find Ayrshire padel tennis on Facebook